I can't quite believe that I did this.
Over 2 decades ago I quit my dream job at the University of Art In Berlin and my very cosmopolitan life to move a tiny place on the West Coast of Scotland and into a house (red arrow) that sits on its own in a vast and remote valley.
Surrounded only by Highland cows & roaring stags, a walk from there to the village of 50 souls takes half an hour and a drive to the supermarket is a 4-hr round trip via the famous Bealach na Baar - a steep hairpin mountain pass that in the winter is often blocked by snow.
The only source of heating was one fireplace and the water came straight off the mountain. It was so full of bracken and soil that my hair turned green.
That move, choosing to give up one (amazing) life and starting a dramatically different one from one day to the next was one of the hardest things that I have ever done in my life.
It was like a death. And yet I knew it was right.
Everyone in my life was shocked. People who only knew me as someone totally focused on art and culture said 'but this is not YOU!" I was perplexed -"What do you mean - this is not ME? THIS -making this radical move- THIS *IS* ME!"
I am always interested in WHO ELSE CAN I BE? What new angle can I experience life from?
And especially: WHAT in amongst the external changes remains UNCHANGING?
What is NOT lost when we choose to give up -or sometimes without our choosing LOSE- things, places & sometimes even: people?
"It is not because other people are dead that our affection for them grows faint, it is because we ourselves are dying" - M. Proust ...
I spent almost 5 years in this valley. I learnt a lot about solitude and about Nature too - how harsh it is, how there is an aloofness to its ephemeral beauty...
At some point, I drew plans for a house with a pencil, ruler, and graph paper that was eventually built RIGHT by the sea (see pics).
But then decided to never live in it.
Instead, I let go again and MOVED.
What followed has since been a rich and wild adventure with 5 years of international moves across Nepal, Southern Europe, Somerset, Tanzania, Malawi, Sri Lanka & St. Ives/Cornwall.
Today, as I am busy preparing for yet another move, I look at my few belongings and am struck by just how many deaths I have already died in this lifetime.
The sculptures that I had carved with SUCH passion over so many years I look at today with puzzlement: just WHY were they once SO important to me?
I don't remember.
The person I was back then has died.
I have several big folders full of notes about art and philosophy that once felt like and expressed my very own essence.
Today I wonder whether to respectfully just bin them? Light a fire with them together with my sculptures?
The idea that we only die once is such a myth.
And any attachments in the light of these thoughts and experiences seem silly.
Or better: playful!
I marvel at the many endings, deaths, and rebirths of ever-new versions of 'me'.
Yet - who is this ME that stays constant & remains the same throughout?
*THAT* is what I want to know ...